Swaddling has been used with newborns since the dawn of time. A nice, snug swaddle replicates the warm and cozy environment of the womb, meaning a calmer baby who often sleeps better and longer. Hospitals typically send babies home wrapped in a standard issue, pink or blue blanket. Some nurses refer to it as the ‘burrito wrap’. But if you’ve ever cursed your baby’s swaddling blanket after she’s wriggled out of it in the middle of the night (yet again), this list is for you!
Regular Swaddling Blanket
If you’d prefer to use a regular blanket, a large, square shaped blanket or piece of material will work. Make sure it’s at least 40 inches by 40 inches, not too thick, and ideally it should have a slight stretch to it.
While less wiggly babies generally do well with a regular swaddling blanket, don’t be surprised if your more active or colicky baby breaks free from time to time.
Legless Swaddling Blankets
Many babies do well with only having their arms swaddled. For babies who simply need a way to keep those pesky arms by their sides, a legless swaddler works well.
The advantage of an arms-only swaddler is that you can safely use the swaddle when your baby is in the swing or bouncy seat. A legless swaddler is also great for using in warmer climates, and your baby is far less likely to outgrow them as she gets older.
Pre-Formed Swaddling Blankets
There are many varieties of pre-formed swaddling blankets. Some have a bit of a learning curve, but like the legless swaddlers, these are virtually escape-proof.
Most require some type of fastener in order to stay closed, while a few rely on the baby’s weight to keep the wrap closed. In both cases however, you are pretty much guaranteed a dependable swaddle.
Sleep sacks are ideal for babies who have outgrown the need to be swaddled, but who still tend to kick off their crib blanket.
Sleep sacks typically have a zipper up the middle, and while not snug like a swaddler, they are generally escape-proof. Using a sleep sack can be a good transitional blanket between a swaddler and a regular blanket.
Holly Klaassen is mom to two, and Editor-in-Chief of The Fussy Baby Site, a support and resource site for parents of fussy, colicky and spirited babies and toddlers.